City restaurateur Martin Williams, the founder of M Restaurants, has slammed what he calls "dated and rightly dying" chain restaurants.
His comments came as M unveiled 11 per cent like-for-like sales growth across two sites in Threadneedle Street and Victoria Street, bucking the trend of the struggling dining industry to bring in more than £6m in 2017. Underlying profits were reported to be up almost 700 per cent.
The group also opened its first neighbourhood location with a bar and grill in Twickenham during the period.
“Chain restaurants at best give a consistent offering in a soulless environment; but are all too often being found out as poor value for money, devoid of personality and quality," Williams said.
He blamed over-aggressive expansion for the troubles facing large chains. This year alone, chains including Byron Hamburgers, Jamie's Italian and Prezzo have all been forced to either close stores or look into other ways of shaking up their structure as competition bites into profitability.
Williams added that his own restaurant brand's growth showed that "diners appreciate quality at an accessible price point and are discovering a new standard in drinking and dining".
The steak restaurant, which also has a raw format and its own wine store was founded in 2014 after Williams left Gaucho, where he was managing director for nine years.
Plans are now on the table for joint projects with premium retail brands, as well as a possible partnership with a hotel. Williams stressed to investors yesterday that his attitude to expansion was "restrained", but also said that a third flagship site was planned in a London financial area.
M previously put on hold plans to open a third large restaurant in central London due to the volatility of the market after the Brexit vote.